Every spring, millions of shorebirds leave their winter homes and fly north to nesting grounds in the Arctic region. A key migration route lies along the western edge of North America – the Pacific Flyway. Birds making the lengthy journey will typically stop for a brief sojourn on Haida Gwaii at the Delkatla Sanctuary, which is already listed on this site. Here, the sanctuary’s marsh, ponds and dense conifers provide an excellent place to rest and gather nourishment for the long journey onward. For us, it also makes for some great birding, as well.
One important trail – as part of Delkatla – is the Simpson Tower Trail. The layout of this 1.7 kilometer (one way) route is kind of interesting. Once you turn onto Cemetery Road, you will see the trailhead about a hundred or so meters in, as signified by signage. The parking lot, however, is found at the trail’s northern terminus point, nearly 2 kilometers away. Nevertheless, the route is a pleasant and easy stroll since it basically runs parallel to the road. As you walk through the treed side of the sanctuary, do take the time to listen for beautiful birdsong. Who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of the chatty Steller’s Jay or Hairy Woodpecker, both of which are endemic to Haida Gwaii.
At several spots along this route, the trail dips into the various meadows and ponds of Delkatla, giving birders easy access to some parts of the sanctuary. If you began your hike at the trail’s northern terminus (parking lot), a short trail there leads you to the Simpson viewing tower which, you guessed it, is where this trail gets its name.